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USCG Station Point Judith
and
Station Block Island

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Narragansett, RI


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Station Point Judith carries its proud history of assistance to seafarers in the same spirit and traditions of its predecessors some 100 years ago. It has a total crew compliment of 50 members and operates a 47' Motor Life Boat, 27' Utility Boat Medium and 25' Response Boat Small.

Point Judith

Point Judith property was purchased on 25 May, 1809 from Hazard Knowles for the sum of $300.00. Point Judith has often been referred to as the "Cape Hatteras of New England". The treacherous waters and rocky shoreline was the scene of many shipwrecks in the 19th century. In an effort to protect mariners, William Ellery, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, established Point Judith Light in 1810. The Lighthouse was built of rough stone and was 35 feet high. The original lighthouse was destroyed in the hurricane of September 1815 and was rebuilt in 1816. To further protect shipping, a life saving station was established in July of 1875. Point Judith Station is the oldest station, on a continuous location, in the Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England area of operation. It was one of the five original life saving stations that protected shipping on the southern shores surrounding Rhode Island. The station was manned by regularly employed Surfmen and was equipped with lifeboat and breeches buoy apparatus. So successful was this, that a new and larger station was built in 1882 to accommodate newer equipment and a larger crew. In September of 1933, the station was gutted by fire and then replaced with the present building in 1937. The destructive hurricane of 1938 destroyed the boathouse near Breakwater Village. A new boathouse was constructed in 1940 at Galilee. The present light was built in 1857. The tower is octagonal with the upper half painted brown and the lower half painted white. It's 51 feet above ground and 65 feet above sea level and has a visibility of 16 NM on a clear day. Point Judith was very active during World War II and just two days prior to the end of the war (in Europe) assisted in the rescue of the steam collier "Black Point" which was torpedo four miles off the point.

Block Island

Station Block Island is a seasonal station that is operated annually from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Noted Rhode Island Life-Saving Service station historian Tim Dring wrote: Station Block Island, as originally established by the USLSS, was located a little above the southwest corner of Block Island but with the introduction of motorized rescue craft, had to be re-located to the current site inside the entrance to Great Salt Pond. The station at the Great Salt Pond location was commissioned in January of 1936, and by December of 1941 had the following rescue craft assigned: 36ft.8in. Type TR motor lifeboat No. 4756/CG36400, Type S pulling surfboat No. 3854/CG25370, and 38ft. cabin picket boat No. 4303/CG38317. The new Station Block Island consolidated the Coast Guard’s operational responsibilities and resources for the entire island, which had previously been split between the three original USLSS stations locations: the original Block Island station, New Shoreham, and Sandy Point. Station Block Island was discontinued as a year-round, fully active unit in 1986.

Last Modified 9/19/2013